In The Church



Liberty Institute Files Answer and Counterclaim to Protect Congregation Toras Chaim’s Right to Private Worship



DALLAS, TX, April 7, 2015—Yesterday, Liberty Institute filed an answer and counterclaim to the City of Dallas’s lawsuit against Congregation Toras Chaim, a small Orthodox Jewish community in Dallas. The City of Dallas is attempting to shut down the Jewish families’ right to freely exercise their religious beliefs by meeting in a private home for worship. Read Liberty Institute’s response to the City of Dallas’ lawsuit:

“This small Jewish congregation is being victimized by unreasonable regulation and litigation,” said Justin Butterfield, Liberty Institute Senior Counsel. “We are very optimistic that the courts will affirm that that city cannot restrict religious exercise without compelling reasons. The First Amendment of the Constitution gives ironclad protection to the free exercise of religion as every American’s first and highest right.”

Congregation Toras Chaim has peaceably met in private homes for worship for several years. They recently won a legal victory against the former president of a Dallas Homeowner’s Association (HOA) and the HOA. As Liberty Institute argued in court and the judge agreed, Texas and federal laws protect the group’s right to private worship, study and prayer. However, just weeks after the families won in the HOA case, the City of Dallas announced they were dragging the Congregation back into court. Liberty Institute continues to represent the Jewish families in this costly fight for the congregation’s survival in the City of Dallas. 

Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated to defending religious liberty in America. We work to protect freedom of religious expression in our schools, churches, military, and workplaces. For information, visit

Case Files

Motion to Transfer Venue and Counter Claim 4/07/2015 - Link

Motion for Summary Judgment 1/09/2015 - Link

Plaintiff's Original Petition, Request for Temporary and Permanent Injunction 3/02/15 - Link

Video interview after HOA case victory - Link


Protecting an Orthodox Jewish Congregation's Right to Exist

Congregation Toras Chaim

Liberty Institute Senior Counsel Justin Butterfield and Rabbi Yaakov Rich

At Issue:
Right to Meet for Religious Exercise
Case Status: Ongoing

The Big Picture

Members of Congregation Toras Chaim have been meeting in a north Dallas community for almost three years. These gatherings—located in the community in which the members live because they cannot drive on the Sabbath—were without incident until a neighbor became upset about the gatherings and filed a lawsuit seeking to have the meetings stopped.

Why this Case Matters

In city after city, town after town, for more than three centuries, local houses of worship have been the glue and backbone of American society. They permeate our communities with faith and good works. Now, they are threatened by a social and political environment that is increasingly hostile to religion. But these houses of worship still have rights, and Liberty Institute is here to ensure they are protected.

The Facts

  • Members of Congregation Toras Chaim began meeting in a north Dallas suburb nearly three years ago.
  • In 2013, a neighbor became upset about the gatherings and filed a lawsuit in December.
  • Liberty Institute stepped in to help defend the congregation’s right to continue its religious meetings in the home.
  • In February 2014, the neighbor who filed the lawsuit was actually elected head of the neighborhood’s homeowners association, escalating the case to a new level.
  • In April 2014, Collin County District Court Judge Jill Willis sided with the congregation, denying the HOA’s request for an injunction that would have stopped the congregation from continuing its religious practices during the lawsuit.
  • Liberty Institute is continuing to defend the congregation.

What You Can Do

Houses of worship—including small bodies like Congregation Toras Chaim—have been increasingly victimized in recent years by unreasonable regulation and litigation that frequently violates their rights.

Whether a Bible study in one’s home or other small religious meetings, Liberty Institute offers legal assistance free of charge to help defend the religious freedoms of individuals, churches and other religious ministries all across the nation.

We are able to do this because of you! Your generous financial support enables us to have the necessary staff to take on these critical cases. As attacks on our religious freedom increase like never before, your donations have never been more important.



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